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4 of Indian family die in Sharjah accident

SHARJAH — Oct. 15: In a ghastly accident, four member of an Indian family were killed and two others were injured on Sharjah Airport Road on Friday evening, police said.

The deceased were identified as Saseendhran Pillai (40) hailing from Alapad in Kollam district in Kerala and his wife Jaisree (32), two sons Vignesh (7) and Vivek (3).

The injured people, also reported to be hailing from India,  were admitted in Al Qassimi hospital in Sharjah. However, their identity is still unknown.

Three die on spot

According to police sources the accident happened on Friday evening about 5.45pm on Sharjah Airport Road between fourth and fifth interchange when the Toyota Hiace van in which the victims were travelling from airport area to the city lost control and hit a car which was passing by. The van then hit  a road divider. Saseendhran Pillai and the kids died on the spot while Jaisree died at Al Qassimi hospital, said the police source adding that the injured people were travelling in the car involved in the accident.

Officials from the Al Hira police station rushed to the spot for rescue operation. Bodies of the victims were shifted to Al Qassimi Hospital.

According to a source at Qassimi  Hospital, except Jaisree ,the  three victims died on the spot before admission to the hospital.

“We tried to save the life of Jaisree but she succumbed to injuries after a short while. The bodies are kept in the morgue,” said the source.

According to information available ,  Pillai was working in a firm in Bur Dubai as an accountant. Vignesh was a grade 2 student in Indian School Dubai.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Manohar, a family friend of Pillai said  the victim's  family was living in Dubai for last 12 years. They were returning after a picnic  to Sharjah national park when the mishap took place. Pillai earlier worked with  a food chain company in Dubai media city and recently changed the job.

''We are planning to repatriate the bodies back home and waiting for the police to complete legal formalities,'' he said.


Abu Dhabi residents want cheap and clean taxis

Abu Dhabi: Oct. 15:Gulf News asked: What will be the impact of privatisation of taxis in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi The Taxi Transport Regulation Centre is in the process of introducing a new modern taxi service with the gradual phasing out of existing cabs in Abu Dhabi.

Running on meters, the current system has been in place for more than 25 years. It is also one of the cheapest modes of private transport in the country. The new system with a higher tariff will be introduced after the first quarter of the next year and all the 8,500 white and green cabs will be phased out within three years.

There have been lots of complaints against the current taxi drivers for their bad behaviour, unhygienic conditions of vehicles and careless driving. Despite the complaints, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain residents prefer these taxis to remain on the road because they are affordable. Gulf News took to the streets of Abu Dhabi to find out about the residents' opinions.

Bushra Masaood, an Algerian housewife, who depends on the city's taxis, says it is a good decision provided the fares are set reasonably. "You find more taxis on Abu Dhabi roads than other vehicles, but it is difficult to flag one down. They never stop when they see women and children. They are also rude and have no respect for passengers," she said. She said the drivers must be recruited based on their conduct.

Nidal Kalash, a Canadian living in the UAE since the early 1970s, sees the new system denting residents' pockets. He believes the new fleet of taxis will affect low and middle income people.

"IInstead of introducing a new system, the local authorities should improve the current system by introducing uniforms, educating drivers and forcing them to keeping their vehicles clean."

Suha Takieddine, a Lebanese teacher, said the move will affect students and people with low income who are frequent users of taxis. She said: "Students will not be able to afford the new taxis. OOne thing good about the new system will be security. Both children, particularly girls, and women will feel more secure to commute. They (TTRC) have to consider the fare when introducing the new system."

She said there is a need for a regular bus service to help solve both the transport and traffic problem here. "A good, regular and modern bus service within the city is the answer," she said.

Raza Jamshedpuri, an Iranian resident, said looking at the rude behaviour of drivers and their vehicles' unhygienic condition, the existing system has to go, but not to the detriment of the poor. "These drivers are very rude, they never listen to passengers and make their own decisions. Sometime they also drop passengers half the way for no reason. They are also not fit for public dealings because they are very bad tempered and can be dangerous sometimes," he said.

Ester Bodi, an Hungarian school nurse, is against the idea of replacing the existing taxi services. She said: "I like them. We have no problem with them. Everyone prefers cheaper taxis. Low-income people will be devastated with the introduction of expensive taxi services.

"I've been living here for ten years and used these taxis and never had any problem. If we want better services, we have the option of Al Ghazzal. There is only one thing that has to be done. These drivers have to take a shower before taking their taxi out on the road.."

For Ganesh K. Nair, an Indian businessman, the new system will improve the image of Abu Dhabi. "It makes our lives easier. With the introduction of the new system, we just have to call the company and the taxi will be at the front door. "We will have clean and neat taxis with courteous and well-behaved drivers. However, I hope the fares will be affordable for the common man."


Rashid colony residents get final eviction notice

Dubai: Oct. 15: More than 500 residents of the Shaikh Rashid colony in Al Ghusais have urged the authorities to give them time until the end of the academic year before forcing them to move out.

Residents of Blocks 1, 2 and 3 received a final eviction notice on October 12 from the Dubai Development Board. The first eviction notice was issued on May 1. Residents plan to ask for an extension today.

"They are going to demolish the blocks and build new ones. We understand that old buildings are an eye-sore to the evolving landscape of Dubai," said Nada, a resident who works as a nurse. "All we are requesting is to give us more time or provide us with alternate housing.

"Where will we go with the rents spiralling these days? Since May I have been searching for a suitable home for us to move into. But the rent for a one bedroom flat is no less than Dh35,000 to Dh40,000. Each room resembles a pigeon hole," said Nada.

The notice states that tenants should vacate their flats by the pre-determined date of October 31. Tenants have been asked to visit the board's office to complete formalitiesand settle the final Dubai Electricity and Water bill. The blocks are set to be demolished in November.


Speaking to Gulf News the tenants said the notice comes at a very inconvenient time as it disrupts schoolchildren. They said the time frame to vacate the premises is "too short". Residents said they will not be able to relocate or repatriate their families to their home countries.

Some tenants have been residents of the colony for over 20 years. Their rent ranges from Dh9,000 to Dh15,000 per year.

"I grew up here," said Farzana, a clerk. "We do not have any complaints against the board. They have been very cooperative with us so far. They do not even charge us for any maintenance that needs to be carried out in the flats or the building. It would help us if the board provided us with alternative housing.

"We are also ready to pay a reasonable increase in rent," she said.

Huida, who lives in a two-bedroom flat in one of the three blocks, said it will be an uphill task to relocate with 13 school-going children. "There are residential buildings which are in worse condition than ours and still people are allowed to live there. Our residential blocks are in better condition than the ones you come across in Karma," said Huida.

Officials at the board were unavailable for comment. Residents said it will not be a happy Eid for them this year.


Parking meters add to woes of residents

DUBAI — Oct. 15: Dubai residents are not happy with the move to install parking meters in residential areas and near schools. They say that the Roads and Transport Authority should reconsider its move as it has become a burden on low-income families.

"I recently found out that the parking area in the school where I teach has become paid.This is unjustified because I don't think that students, teachers or even parents who come to pick up their wards should pay a parking fee," said a teacher. Residents are also angry that they pay a parking fee when they visit hotels.

"I was fined because it did not occur to me that a hotel parking area could become a paid facility. Nowhere in the world do hotels ask their guests to pay for parking," said Marie Scheiner, while talking about paid-parking in some hotels on the prestigious Shaikh Zayed Road.

Commenting on the issuey, Engineer Mehdi Ali, Director of Parking at RTA, said, "Paid parking areas in Dubai are decided after taking into consideration several criteria including population density, employment density, retail/leisure density, traffic activity, site survey as well as public complaints. ''So, it is not just an overnight decision to install parking meters.”

However, residents say that finding a decent parking space in Dubai has become tiresome. "The authority should consider removing parking meters from low- income residential areas such as Hor Al Anz. ''Earlier, we would park our cars in any place and walk to our houses, but now if a car is parked wrongly for even a few minutes, we are slapped with a fine," said Irfan Shaikh, a frustrated resident.


Search continues for man who went missing from Rolla

SHARJAH — Oct. 15: Ali Raza's search for his brother is far from over.

Zamin Raza Rajani, 28, who arrived in the UAE from Pakistan in August, went missing from a mosque in Rolla on October 6.

According to Ali, Zamin came to the UAE to work in the purchase division of his elder brother's company.

“He had some mental problems and we thought it would be helpful for him to come here and undergo treatment. On October 6, we went together to the mosque to pray at night. He told us he would have a cup of tea outside the mosque. When we came out of the mosque, he was nowhere to be seen."

"We searched all the areas nearby, but we could not find him. Zamin was not carrying any identification on him. We went to the Sharjah police and filed a missing report. All the police stations and hospitals were alerted. But we are yet to get any information from the police,” said Ali. 

“We also searched various hospitals and some other places. But now with each passing day, I am getting worried about him and I hope we manage to find him soon.”

An Indian national also reportedly went missing from Rolla last week. Mahesh Samal who is believed to be 'mentally unstable' is yet to be traced by the Sharjah Police, it was learnt.

Samal stayed with his brother Ramillo in the Musallah area in Rolla.

Mahesh left his brother's apartment on October 5 when Ramillo was fast asleep. Mahesh arrived in the UAE on September 29 to work as a labourer. He was also not carrying any identification when he was reported missing.


One killed, 41 injured in Abu Dhabi accidents

ABU DHABI — Oct. 15: One person was killed and 41 others sustained injuries in 25 separate accidents that occurred in Abu Dhabi and its surrounding areas in the second week of Ramadan, that is, from September 30 to October 6.

The accidents included those that were collision of cars, overturning of vehicles, and knocking down of pedestrians.

Some of them were major accidents, while others did not cause much damage to life or property. 

Some of the major causes of these accidents were entering the busy road when it was crowded and not clear for driving, not leaving enough space between vehicles that were ahead of each other, thereby causing collisions, jumping a red signal, overspeeding and reckless and rash driving.

Among the 41 people who were injured, four persons were seriously injured, 13 of them obatined moderate injuries and 24 among them had sustained minor injuries.



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